Who is Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia? The King Who Never Was Explained

By Louie Fecou
Published: July 5, 2023 (Last updated: July 10, 2023)
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Who is Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia - The King Who Never Was Explained

Who is Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia? We discuss the 2023 Netflix true crime series The King Who Never Was, which contains significant spoilers.

There’s more to documentary-making than true crime, depending on the people involved.

Now there’s an opening statement for an article, and to be fair, there’s a vast true crime element in this, but the 2023 Netflix documentary The King Who Never Was, is a deep dive into a European historical scandal, involving a Monarchy, their relationships with society, and possibly a cold-blooded murder.

The story itself is fascinating, and this kind of series is always welcome on the streaming platform’s schedule, as although it may be more niche than your usual serial killer story, there will be an audience out there that will be looking for this kind of fact-based content, that is not as well known, and has historical context.

This kind of commissioning can help keep schedules a little fresher. Suppose Netflix is trying to present original material that may not usually get a hyped launch. In that case, they should be credited for providing different stories than the norm.

Irrespective of all that, I am hoping that if you have stumbled upon this article, then you might read this and make a decision to give this series a go, so here’s what you need to know about Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia from Netflix’s The King Who Never Was.

Who is Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia?

Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia was a controversial political figure with a complicated history. He was the only son of Umberto II, who was the last King of Italy.

Savoia controversially declared himself the King of Italy in 1969.

Why were Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia and Royal Members Exiled from Italy?

Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia was forced to live in exile for a considerable part of his life after a referendum in 1946 abolished the Monarchy and instead ran with the Italian Republic.

Controversy would follow Savoia, tainted with his anti-Semitic leanings and allying himself with Propaganda Due; he would find himself involved in allegations of political corruption. This was only the tip of that particular iceberg.

Did  Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia kill Dirk Hamer?

Yes, he inadvertently did. In 1978, a bizarre incident occurred on the exiled Royal’s yacht that led to the death of Dirk Hamer. Off the coast of a South Corsican island, Dirk Hamer was sleeping on his yacht when he would be fatally, but accidentally, shot by Savoia, who was on his yacht nearby.

Savoia had thought his dinghy had been stolen by another boat owner and armed with a rifle; he would take matters into his own hands with disastrous consequences. Savoia found himself on a murder charge, which he was eventually cleared of, although he was convicted of a firearms offense.

The prince accidentally but fatally wounded a 19-year-old German man named Dirk Hamer when he shot him twice on August 18, 1978, from his yacht, anchored near the one on which Hamer was sleeping, off a south Corsican island.

One of the two shots fired would lead to terrible complications, striking Hamer in the leg, leading to the limb being amputated. The injury would be so debilitating that Hamer would die after months of care and surgery.

Savoia was jailed for seven weeks but was eventually released without being officially charged with murder; instead, prosecutors would settle for minor charges, including firearms offenses.

Lengthy proceedings would follow Savoia for years, with journalists and legal teams fighting for justice for the death of Dirk Hamer.

Has Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia returned to Italy?

The constitution that barred male members of the Royal family from returning to Italy was repealed in 2002. This allowed Vittorio to return to Italy as long as he renounced all claims to the defunct throne.

He was also instructed to acknowledge that the Republic was the only lawful government in Italy.

He would return to his home country in December 2002 for the first time in over fifty years.

The incredible, complex story is well documented in the 2023 Netflix series.

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